NEWARK – Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones wants Phil Murphy to pick former Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) as his running mate.
“She is eminently qualified and is a great choice,” Jones told InsiderNJ at Mayor Ras Baraka’s kickoff ceremony in front of Newark City Hall. “I’m absolutely supporting her as the best choice.”
InsiderNJ broached the subject of the public sector unions’ ragged relationship with the former speaker, who sat on the throne when Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic legislature overhauled public pensions and benefits.
“That was yesterday, that was in the past,” said Jones, who behind the scenes has made his case to Murphy World for the 34th District Assemblywoman from his home city of East Orange. “The point is Sheila Oliver is prepared. She is ready to take the job. She’s a reasonable person, too.”
If Oliver were the choice, her departure from the district could set up a showdown between East Orange Councilman Chris James and Essex County Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake.
“I’m focused on the job I have now,” Timberlake told InsiderNJ.